We all look forward to a good night’s sleep. Sleep allows our body to rest and to restore its energy levels.
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Without enough restful sleep, not only can we become grumpy and irritable, but also inattentive and more prone to accidents. Like food and water, adequate sleep is essential to good health and quality of life.
Not sleeping well can lead to a number of problems. Older adults who have poor nighttime sleep are more likely to have depressed mood, attention and memory problems, excessive daytime sleepiness, more nighttime falls, and use more over-the-counter or prescription sleep aids. Poor sleep is also associated with a poorer quality of life.
Many people believe that poor sleep is a normal part of aging, but it is not. In fact, many healthy older adults report few or no sleep problems. Sleep patterns change as we age, but disturbed sleep and waking up tired every day are not part of normal aging. If you are having trouble sleeping, see your doctor or a sleep specialist. There are treatments that can help.
Follow a regular schedule
Go to sleep and wake up at the same time, even on weekends. Sticking to a regular bedtime and wake time schedule helps keep you in sync with your body’s circadian clock, a 24-hour internal rhythm affected by sunlight.
Try not to nap too much during the day because you might be less sleepy at night.
Try to exercise at regular times each day. Exercising regularly improves the quality of your nighttime sleep and helps you sleep more soundly. Try to finish your workout at least three hours before bedtime.
Get some sunlight
Try to get some natural light in the afternoon each day.
Be careful about what you eat and drink
Don’t drink beverages with caffeine late in the day. Caffeine is a stimulant and can keep you awake. Also, if you like a snack before bed, a warm beverage and a few crackers may help.
No Alcohol and Cigarettes
Don’t drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes to help you sleep. Even small amounts of alcohol can make it harder to stay asleep. Smoking is dangerous for many reasons, including the hazard of falling asleep with a lit cigarette. Also, the nicotine in cigarettes is a stimulant.
Create a safe and comfortable place to sleep
Make sure there are locks on all doors and smoke alarms on each floor. A lamp that’s easy to turn on and a phone by your bed may be helpful. The room should be dark, well ventilated, and as quiet as possible.
Develop a bedtime routine
Do the same things each night to tell your body that it’s time to wind down. Some people watch the evening news, read a book, or soak in a warm bath.
Bedroom is only for sleeping
Use your bedroom only for sleeping. After turning off the light, give yourself about 15 minutes to fall asleep. If you are still awake and not drowsy, get out of bed. When you get sleepy, go back to bed.
Try not to worry about your sleep. Some people find that playing mental games is helpful. For example, think black- a black cat on a black velvet pillow on a black corduroy sofa, etc. Or, tell yourself it’s five minutes before you have to get up and you’re just trying to get a few extra winks.
Consult your doctor, if necessary
If you are so tired during the day that you cannot function normally and if this lasts for more than 2 to 3 weeks, you should see your family doctor or a sleep disorders specialist.
- Behaviors to Promote Healthy Aging
- Improving Your Eating Habits
- Tips To Healthier Eating Habits
- Exercise For A Healthy Lifestyle
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